The more things change, the more they stay the same. Space ships may wander the cosmos in the distant future, but galactic-size housing bubbles are unfortunately commonplace, and IRS agents still track down and claim the assets of anyone who’s way behind on their dues! That’s the future envisioned by Retromite in RobotRiot, which is due to hit the App Store any day now. Released in collaboration with Glowing Eye Games, Retromite’s iOS debut sets the player in control of a robot raider assigned to infiltrate and disable rogue ships so they can be repossessed by the galactic feds.

RobotRiot‘s beautiful pixel art style may have “SNES” written all over it, but its gameplay felt precisely like a love letter to the earlier, grittier NES era when I took a few of its levels for a spin. The player’s floating robot packs a plasma rifle for basic self-defense, but combat with roving guards has taken a backseat to impressive environmental challenges in the levels I’ve played so far. There are moving platforms aplenty, as well as tricky conveyor belts and mashers that gave me flashbacks to Capcom’s earliest Megaman games — even the robot’s pulsing death sound is a clear Easter egg to those who fondly remember that era. Different target ships appear to have their own signature traps and defense robots, and the player can tackle them in whatever order he or she pleases. Each level ends once the player has shot up a power generator that lies behind plenty of locked doors and elevator switches.

Imbued with the feel and challenge of a bygone era, RobotRiot is a title that retro fans, and fans of side-scrolling platformers in general, should keep on their radars. We’ll follow up with an interview and a full review soon; in the meantime, check out Retromite’s development blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the game’s progress from start to finish! Here’s a trap- and boss-laden preview video that will give you a very good idea of what to expect: